Thousands of people are set to converge on Brisbane today to honor the two police officers whose young lives were brutally cut short in the shocking siege of Wieambilla.
A service with full police honors will be held on Wednesday from 10am Queensland time (11am AEDT) at the Boondall Entertainment Center for Constables Rachel McCrow, 28, and Matthew Arnold, 26.
The pair were killed in an ambush by Nathaniel, Gareth and Stacey Train outside the trio’s rural home in Wieambilla.
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Armed with high-powered military-grade weaponry, Trains had rigged their rural home in Wieambilla in preparation for the attack on Arnold, McCrow and two other officers who narrowly survived the attack, Constables Keely Brough and Randall Kirk, both 2
Neighbor Alan Dare was also shot, while Trains was killed in the ensuing shootout with police.
Queensland Police Union chairman Ian Leavers said investigators believe the Train family planned the attack and were armed and ready to deal with a police assault.
“It was a sophisticated surveillance system and it’s very, very concerning for us – knowing that this ruthless and murderous trio have gone this far with the aim, I firmly believe, of eliminating the police”, a- he told ABC Radio on Thursday.
Leavers said he did not want to impede the police investigation into the incident, but police were very concerned about the attack.
“It’s sickening to know how far this murderous trio has gone,” he said.
Plans for a permanent memorial to fallen officers in Tara, the Western Downs town where they were stationed, have already begun.
“As a regional Western Downs community…I’m sure I would seek to have some form of memorial for those who have lost their lives doing their duty,” said Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh.
The fallen officers
McCrow attended Genesis Christian College in Bray Park in north-west Brisbane and was only sworn in as a police officer last year.
Close friends of McCrow told the Courier Mail that her career in policing was a source of pride for the 28-year-old.
“When Rachel joined the police, we had no doubts that she would be successful,” they told the masthead.
“Her selfless nature coupled with her sincere concern for others meant she was going to be an asset to any community she worked in.
“Proud is an understatement.
“Rachel was not only proud of her work, but worked incredibly hard to learn and grow in this career.”
Arnold attended St Laurence’s College in South Brisbane and was sworn into the Force in 2020.
Arnold’s mother posted a brief but heartfelt tribute to her boy online, according to PerthNow.
“Rest in peace, my beautiful boy,” wrote Sue Arnold.
Meanwhile, Arnold’s triple sister Hayley posted on social media that she felt “heartbreaking physical pain” following news of her brother’s death.
“There are no words to express our loss,” Hayley Arnold wrote on social media, according to the Daily Mail.
McCrow and Arnold both started their policing careers in the Dalby area before moving to Tara.
A survivor pays respect to his fallen comrades
Meanwhile, Brough paid tribute to his colleagues and the local man who died in the ambush during a candlelight vigil.
Brough joined members of Queensland Police at a memorial in Chinchilla on Friday night, to honor Arnold and Dare.
Around 400 people attended the vigil at Illoura village by laying flowers and lighting candles in memory of those who died.
Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Charysse Pond said it was an extremely difficult time for the police force and residents.
“It’s very difficult, it’s very difficult. But it’s events like this and community support that certainly make our work worthwhile,” she said.
A guard of honor took place at the end of the event, with attendees cheering the police as they crossed the line.
“God bless all our police officers. The work you do. All of our service people. We are indebted to you for what you do,” said Jason Elder, CEO of Southern Cross Care.
A fundraiser for Dare’s widow had raised more than $77,000 by Saturday morning.